The City of Brass
by S.A. Chakraborty
Cover Artist: Unusual Corporation
Review by Mel Jacob
Harper Voyager Hardcover / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062678102
Date: 14 November 2017 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The first of an Arabian Night's trilogy, author Chakraborty takes us on a flying carpet with a dead djinn and an orphaned healer from Cairo to the City of Brass, Daevabad, in the hidden Djinn kingdom. Dara, once an enslaved djinn, and Nahri (a con artist and healer) flee ifrits--evil djinn who seek to enslave or kill them both. Their only hope lies in reaching the City of Brass hidden behind enchantments in the far desert.
Gradually, on their journey to the fabled city, Nahri learns Dara's bloody past and why he became so hated. Killed and his spirit enslaved by the ifrits, he was sold from owner to owner and commanded to loot, kill, and maim his owner's enemies. Nonetheless, Nahri finds herself attracted to him.
After the death of a winged peri, Dara's only friend, they reach the city. Nahri is the image of the last of the Nahids, a renowned family of healers now all dead except for her. However, she finds it difficult to perform the cures expected of her. Her healing abilities still exist and her skill with languages, but she is unused to the ailments among the djinn.
Nahri has a skill with languages and can speak them without ever being exposed to the language. She is insatiably curious as is Prince Ali who is assigned to guard her. Together, they spend much time in the palace library.
Ali's father holds the seal of Suleiman and thus commands all djinn. Family relationships among the royal family are complicated. Ali's older brother is the designated heir while Ali is the beloved younger son. His father would sacrifice him if necessary to hold the city.
Like most trilogies, the novel ends with many things unresolved and the fate of some very much in doubt. Nahri resembles other spunky heroines such as Max Gladstone's Tara from Three Parts Dead. Dara with a blood-soaked path is a hero to die for while Prince Ali is brave beyond words. Chakraborty has crafted a story sure to please many readers and ensure the future of the remaining parts of the trilogy.